Zinc Saves Kids
Key Facts on Impacts in Peru
- Close to one million children aged 6-36 months treated with 5 mg of zinc as part of multiple micronutrient pack to combat chronic malnutrition.
- The prevalence of under-five stunting is reduced by almost 2 percentage-points every year.
- The number of health centers incorporating zinc for diarrhea treatment almost tripled, leading to an average reduction of 25% in diarrhea episodes and 40% less in duration and severity.
- The prevalence of acute diarrheal diseases shows a constant downward trend since 2010.
- The Government of Peru approved a national plan to reduce chronic malnutrition and anemia to 10% and 20% respectively by 2016 and allocated a multi-million dollar fund for a comprehensive health care and nutrition package including zinc.
“I would like to express our gratitude for the valuable support of IZA through the “Zinc Saves Kids” campaign. Since 2010, the alliance of UNICEF and IZA has contributed to significantly improve the nutritional status of children under five in Peru.”
“This effort has had a huge impact on millions of children in Peru and Nepal and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Galvanizing Industry for their generous and enthusiastic support of this worthwhile cause. Together, we have truly made a difference.”
International Zinc Association
About Zinc Saves Kids
Zinc Saves Kids provides hope to children in Peru by supporting UNICEF in providing zinc supplements as an adjunct therapy for severe diarrhea and as part of a comprehensive multiple micronutrient health care package to reduce chronic malnutrition and stunting. Zinc is essential for growth and development, cognitive learning and the proper functioning of the immune system. Early childhood malnutrition causes irreversible damage with lifelong repercussions in terms of frequent illness, lower performance at school and lower income potential. It also increases the risk of death from diarrhea.
While the Zinc Saves Kids-supported zinc supplementation program for diarrhea treatment is designed for children under five years of age the MNP intervention focuses on the first 1000 days in the life of a child, from conception to two years, which provide a unique window of opportunity.
Micronutrient packages combat stunting/malnutrition – Betsy’s story
When Betsy was three, she was diagnosed with micronutrient deficiency. This diagnosis worried her parents greatly but the staff at the local health center in Huamanguilla included her in the UNICEF/Zinc Saves Kids micronutrient pack (MNP) program. Betsy’s mother was given sachets of MNP including zinc and was asked to sprinkle one per day on her daughter’s meal for six months, with a six month break in between. After a few months there was a noticeable difference in Betsy and her health tests showed that her micronutrient levels had improved. She now eats all her meal and reminds her mother every day,“Mommy, put the vitamins in my food.” Her mother Vicenta is extremely happy about Betsy’s development and wants to learn more about the importance of vitamins and minerals to help other mothers in her community.
Zinc for diarrhea treatment – Pedro’s story
Two and a half year old Pedro Gabriel lives with his parents in Ventanilla, a poor district just outside of Lima. One day after his bottle of milk, he experienced stomachaches, diarrhea, vomiting and a fever. As symptoms worsened, his mother Santa took him to the local health center where Pedro was diagnosed with severe diarrhea and was given a zinc tablet dissolved in water. His mother was instructed to give him one zinc tablet per day for nine days. During this period Pedro was visited three times by a community health worker who checked that the therapy was followed properly and who also educated the mother on some basic health care practices, including frequent hand-washing. After a few days, the diarrhea stopped and Pedro began to eat normally whereas before he never finished his meal. His mother was very happy and proud and said with a beaming smile, “If your son or daughter suffers from diarrhea I recommend giving them zinc tablets. Not only will zinc tablets cure them, it will also improve their appetite. I believe that zinc strengthens the child. It is like a vitamin, now my son eats all his meal.”